Friday 7 January 2011

Spirit of Houdini

Last summer I was saying how I love the birds and they love me or at least the endless supply of nuts. Grey squirrels that pinch the nuts and break the feeders are not my favourites so I invested in a squirrel proof feeder. For months all went well with attempted break-ins thwarted by the cage. But then along came Houdini .... in he goes, feasts and hopefully one day will be too fat to escape.

While we were away on holiday, a friend, looking after the house, developed a deterrent. Sneak up to the feeder and squirt the squirrel with a jet of water from a squeezy detergent bottle. In his panic he would be unable to exit swiftly and get a drenching. For a few days after, our squirrel would keep his distance, but when he returned he was more vigilant, with an eye on the threat from the kitchen door.

But yesterday Sue startled Houdini as she walked past. Maybe after 6 months he’d scoffed too many, maybe he went the wrong way, but there he was, stuck fast. I took a photo and instead of joy felt pity. Poor thing, stuck at the haunches. What were my options if he remained stuck? Thick leather gauntlets, padded jacket and chain saw helmet with iron cutters?

I watched for 5 minutes or so as with immense effort he struggled part way back inside the cage, unable to get the shoulders back through. For 10 more minutes or so he lay on his back, looking to the heavens, conserving energy and thinking. A strange sort of Yoga position?

Maybe he was in direct contact with the spirit of Houdini for the next time I looked the cage was empty. Phew!


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